RFA’s Cooper Calls 2024 Pivotal Year for Ethanol Industry, Vilsack Reassures on GREET

Photo courtesy of RFA

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper told the group’s annual National Ethanol Conference in San Diego this week, 2024 will be “one of the most pivotal years” ever for the industry.

Cooper says policy decisions in the next three to six-months on sustainable aviation fuel tax credits, year-round E15 and light-duty vehicle tailpipe standards will shape ethanol’s future for possibly decades to come.

On the still being modified GREET model expected March 1st for figuring SAF’s carbon footprint and eligibility for must-have tax credits, Cooper said “The modified GREET model will either help open the door for U.S. agriculture and ethanol producers to participate in the SAF market, or it will lock out the highest volume, lowest-cost feedstocks and assure the failure of this administration’s ambitious SAF goals.”

But Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offered reassurance, saying “We are working hard to make sure that, as we create these incentives, that they include room for ‘climate smart’ agricultural practices, which is going to make it easier for that which we grow and raise on our farms to be used as feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel. We’re working hard to make that happen and I’m confident that it will happen.”

Cooper, meantime, urged EPA to reconsider its pro-electric vehicle pending tailpipe rule and instead take a technology neutral approach. He lamented, EVs will erode ethanol demand—450 million gallons for every one million new EVs sold. Thus, the importance of EPA finalizing its long-overdue year-round E15 rule.

Cooper said, “Not only does E15 slash harmful tailpipe pollution, reduce carbon emissions and lower pump prices, but it gives ethanol a chance for modest growth, in an otherwise declining gasoline market. It helps us hold the line on demand, as other new markets like aviation, maritime and heavy-duty are emerging.”

Just months before the next summer driving season, Cooper says there are new rumors EPA might issue a final rule as planned by late March but not implement it until 2025.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and (Berns Bureau Washington/by Matt Kaye)